Hans in Wonderland

As I told you before, my two last lessons with Hans took place in my Art Studio, within the world of still life… Still life are a very rewarding field to study the repartition of shadows and light, the different, subtle grey tones of shadows, the reflections from one object onto the other ones. When you take time to look at a well-arranged, well-lit still life, you will discover the fascinating world of subtle interaction between the objects constituting the still life. And you will never think again: still life is soooo boring!
The day before the lesson I bought a sinful looking red apple, a more demure green apple and some..well, we all know what bananas look like, don´t we? (Kevin always tried to devour them, it was very hard to save them for the drawing lesson!). I still had a very old orange at home, which by now had the dimpled skin of a 100 year-old woman. I thought it would make a good contrast between the voluptuous girlies,the young males and the wizened old lady. I picked some blooming grasses in what pretends to be my garden, artistically arranged them in a schnaps bottle (after pouring away the remaining schnaps, a memory of old times where I granted my gallery clients with some hard alcohol to put them in a buying mood!), spread some petals on the table to complete the composition, switched a side light on and the result was a nice still life. Hans liked it too and went to work -like always- with great enthusiasm. Just look at him and you will see, how he loved it, our Hans in Wonderland!


We first made the drawing, using the “Blind Drawing” method, at which Hans has become very good in a very short time. Quite amazing how fast he learnt it! I had many pupils in the past, to whom I tried to teach that method, and it always took many hours just to force them not to look at their paper while they were drawing lines! It is somehow a question of courage: to draw lines without looking at the paper is like jumping in the dark! Hans seems quite good at that, I wonder if he has adopted this strategy many times in his life!

After the drawing, we started putting some colours, we knew that we would have enough time to finish the drawing, so I decided to make with him the most difficult elements, and then give him instructions to go on alone. First the green apple, then the orange, then the bottle, then the red apple… Hans was quite surprised in the end:
“The red apple was the most difficult, I would never have thought that!”
Indeed it was… a red apple is not a simple red ball. The shape is quite complicated and the shiny superficial structure provokes a lot of reflections with different nuances to it.
The result was quite nice, I would say.


A pity that we could not finish the painting together, but I totally trust Hans to go on alone. Anyway I will assist him at distance, but unfortunately, it will perhaps be some time before he can go on, as he has other, wonderful plans!

And now, dear silent attenders of my school, I must say bye for a while… Some more or less forced holidays… I must travel to Germany tomorrow, for a private, not very pleasant thing, and then to my parents in the French Pyrenees… Also, in my absence think if you would like to attend Goodaskool, I would be very happy!


5 Responses to “Hans in Wonderland”

  1. adil abdoumi slimane Says:

    i want one book of drawing still life and paintu*ing

  2. Goodaboom Says:

    Not always easy in life to get what you want!

  3. Dominant Dansby Says:

    What medium did you use, it looks great.
    Another thing is my schools Christmas vacation is starting and lately I have been using watercolor as my medium toward practicing still life everyday, however lately I have not been looking forward to doing my still lives so I’m wondering. Should a change of medium help me, or should I try simplifying my still life setting to get more interested in doing my still life. What I’m trying to say is “with your experience” what has been the easiest way for your students to get interested in still lives.
    Maybe I should give you the post to the website I posted my first still life.

  4. Miki Says:

    Still life are normally well-known to be boring and students generally struggle to do some. I think to change the medium would be a very good idea, and in fact I recommand you to use what I use for still life most of the time: pastel chalk. My students were always amazed how rewarding this medium is, and how fast the progresses are. They really loved it. Try it, you won’t regret. The best thing being to use the pastel on coloured paper, this is how it best works. If you want I can even give you some more advices and have a kind of “correcting” look on your drawings.
    By the way: I went to your site, great illustrations there, really!
    And the peer is quite good too… perhaps you should try to think of different objects and arrange them in an original composition, I think this would attract you more than a simple fruit, judging from your illustrations…
    Let me know if you want some help…

  5. sulman Says:

    hello there!

    i am fine art student and im in my first semester in my versity donot work in pastel for too long just one or two assignments.. i love the result a still life pastel painting give i have tried quiet few. i want tips on how to give my objects sharp and more define edges? i dont want to use pastel pencils.

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